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South Sudan holds trial for troops accused of rape

By on May 29, 2017

South Sudanese soldiers accused of raping at least five foreign aid workers and killing their local colleague last year are due to stand trial in a military court on Tuesday.

Prosecutor Abubaker Mohammed, an army colonel, said that between 15 to 20 government soldiers face charges including murder, rape and looting during the attack on the Terrain hotel in the capital Juba on July 11, 2016.

U.N. investigators and rights group have frequently accused both the army and rebels of murder, torture and rape since the civil war began in 2013, and say the crimes almost always go unpunished.

“We want to eliminate these crimes within the army,” Mohammed said, adding he would examine the responsibility of senior officers.

The attack, one of the worst on foreign aid workers in South Sudan’s civil war, took place as President Salva Kiir’s government troops won a three-day battle in Juba over opposition forces loyal to former Vice President Riek Machar.

During the hours-long attack on the hotel compound, victims phoned U.N. peacekeepers stationed a mile away and begged for help, but none came. The military head of the peacekeeping mission was fired and the political head resigned over the incident.

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